Buddhism is defined in many ways by different people. While some call it a religion that seeks to preach particular dogmas that are essential for human beings, others call it a philosophy that seeks nothing more than driving humans towards the truth and the right form of existence. However, coming to speak of it, whether Buddhism is a religion or a philosophy boils down to our own definition of the term ‘religion'.
According to most religious persons who have dedicated their lives towards advancing the cause of religion, religion is a top down concept wherein an entity or a deity that has existed in the past commands supreme power and influence. In order for us as humans to be empowered in our lives and give purpose to our lives, religion speaks of worshipping that deity. That is what religion actually means, this, as defined by us.
Coming to defining a philosophy, the definition varies substantially. A philosophy does not speak of a deity or an entity that we need to bow down before. Philosophy teaches self improvement and self empowerment. Now that the basic difference between religion and philosophy is understood, let us go on to see if Buddhism is a philosophy or a religion.
Going by the actual definition of the terms, Buddhism is no religion, it is a philosophy. This is because of one main reason- there doesn't exist a deity that we need to bow down before in Buddhism. It speaks of concepts that relate to empowering the self through the self. Thus, it is a bottom to top approach towards understanding the truth and the purpose of existence.
Buddhism seeks to unlock the potential of every human being so that he or she can contribute to the development of society to make the world a happier place, thereby taking the planet earth to a higher positive vibration. Thus, in the various angles that Buddhism is addressed, in all its entirety, it is actually a philosophy- a philosophy that adorns righteousness and justice for mankind.